Names Matter III…

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‘…the substantive verb ‘to be’ is made up of the relics of several verbs which once had a distinct physical significance. ‘Be’ contained the idea of growing; ‘am, art, is and are’, the idea of sitting; ‘was and were’ that of dwelling or abiding…’
Edward Clodd

…“Howsiver is a shiver…”
“But is it a head or is it a hide that causes the shiver?”
“Either way ‘our gal’ will be hard pushed to survive this one.”…

…Well, she were that frightened. She’d allus been such a gatless mawther, that she didn’t se much as know how to spin, an’ what were she to dew tomorrer, with no one to come nigh her to help. She sat down on a stool in the kitchen, and lork! How she did cry! …

…“Is ‘gatless’ gormless or gut less I wonder?”
“Could be it’s neither and has got something to do with gathering.”
“Oh bravo, little grub!”
“Or what about feckless, ‘ineffectual’…?”
“Why, ‘tis a joy to behold just how you’re mind works!”
“And I have only just realised that tomorrow carries death with it.”
“Does that explain the rowing?”
“It may dew but as for ‘lork’?”
“Look, presumably, or Lord? But let’s hope it does… dew.”
“Nigh as near is quite sublime.”
“But who could possibly be near?”…

…All on a sudden she heard a sort of knockin’ low down on the door.
She upped and oped it, an’ what should she see but a small little black thing with a long tail. That looked up at her right kewrious, an’ that said:
‘What are yew a cryin’ for?’…

…“Isn’t small the same as little?”
“Evidently not, which means, in East Anglia at least, one could have a big little black thing.”
“Is ‘right’ ‘very’?”
“It probably is, but could just possibly also be ‘royal’.”
“Royal, I like, especially for an imp.”
“Imperious?”
“What, always wrong?”
“Always seriously wrong; an imp is a little devil.”
“It could be a sprite?”
“A sprite is a spirit.”
“Well, spirits do knock but usually on tables or floors not doors.”
“Spirits do but I’m not sure about well-spirits.”
“Well spirits sing, like sirens.”
“Sirens wail.”
“Like our mawther.”…

…‘Wha’s that to yew?’ says she.
‘Niver yew mind,’ that said, ‘but tell me what you’re a cryin’ for.’…

…“Crying for something rather than because of something I like too.”
“Clever that, isn’t it, how do you think it knew?”
“Is that another clue?”
“I think so…”

…That oon’t dew me noo good if I dew,’ says she.
‘Yew doon’t know that,’ that said, an’ twirled that’s tail round.
‘Well, says she, ‘that oon’t dew no harm, if that doon’t dew no good,’ and she upped and told about the pies an’ the skeins an’ everything.
‘This is what I’ll dew,’ says the little black thing: ‘I’ll come to yar winder iv’ry mornin’ an’ take the flax an’ bring it spun at night.’
‘What’s your pay?’ says she.
That looked out o’ the corners o’ that’s eyes an’ that said: ‘I’ll give you three guesses every night to guess my name, an’ if you hain’t guessed it afore the month’s up, yew shall be mine.’
Well, she thowt she’d be sure to guess that’s name afore the month was up. ‘All right,’ says she, ‘I agree.’
‘All right,’ that says an’ lork! How that twirled that’s tail…
To be continued…

Tom Tit Tot

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